While the torrential downpours this last week suggest otherwise, we shouldn’t forget that we are still in the middle of the worst drought in nearly 100 years. Our dams are at record lows and there’s even rumours of Stage 3 water restrictions being floated.
We are looking down the barrel of our own Day Zero event real soon so there’s no better time to start saving water wherever you can.
There are a number of ways that households can become more water wise.
You can start by checking your pipes for leaks and getting them repaired as soon as possible. We’ve all seen a burst pipe or two flooding the streets so we know how much water can be wasted through faulty maintenance. It’s not just your pipes you should check but your faucets as well. Make sure that you turn your taps off properly when you are done so that they aren’t left dripping. Same for your toilet cisterns.
And speaking of cisterns, consider putting an empty plastic bottle in yours to help save water when flushing. It sounds like a strange move but it does work.
Your garden is another area that can use up a lot of water in a short amount of time. Thankfully there are a number of ways which can reduce your garden’s thirst. First, fill your garden with local plants. South African flora is naturally drought resistant so it requires less water to maintain. Another good idea is to move your more delicate plants to a shady area to prevent water loss through direct sunlight.
The next step is to ditch the hosepipe and pick up a watering can. Yes, a can is harder work but think about all the water you waste with a hose that is on even as you’re moving between plants. It’s estimated that you can save up to 26 buckets of water every hour by switching to a watering can so the effort is definitely worth it.
Rainwater tanks are a must for anyone serious about saving water. Rainwater can be put to use in many different ways such as irrigation, laundry, and washing dishes. However it’s a good idea to boil it first if you plan on using it for drinking water.
Finally, there are a plenty of small steps you can take that all add up to a lot of water saved such as taking shorter showers, washing your car with a bucket instead of a hose, and only using your washing machine when it is full. On their own these steps might not seem significant but when combined with everything mentioned above, can still make a big difference.